Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Former Dynamos Football Club captain Guthrie Zhokinyi left the Supreme Court a happy man on Thursday after a bid by the club to evade paying him a total of $15 000 in outstanding salary arrears and benefits hit a brick wall.
The bench, comprising Justices Elizabeth Gwaunza, Antonia Guvava and Susan Mavangira struck the appeal off the roll, noting that Dynamos failed to comply with court rules.
Sometime in 2014, the club was ordered by the Labour Court to pay Zhokinyi his outstanding signing-on fees, salaries and other entitlements up to the period he was banned from football for his alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.
Zhokinyi had signed a three-year contract in 2012, but was paid only part of his signing-on fees, with the balance to be settled in instalments.
The defender was handed a life ban later that year following the conclusion of an inquiry into match-fixing allegations.
Dynamos argued that they could not continue paying the player since they had received an instruction to stop fielding him.
The ban was later lifted and Zhokinyi approached the Labour Court and the matter was referred for arbitration and he won the case.
Dynamos appealed at the High Court and Zhokinyi was stopped from attaching the club’s property.
In his determination, High Court judge Justice Alphas Chitakunye granted Dynamos stay of execution on the basis that since Zhokinyi was no longer employed, he would not be in a position to compensate the club should its appeal against the arbitrator’s findings in the Supreme Court succeed.
Sometime last year, through his lawyers, Zvinavakobvu Law Chambers, Zhokinyi approached the High Court seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court bench yesterday said the Club had not specified in its draft order that it was seeking an order setting aside the arbitral award.
The three Justices told the club’s lawyer, Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, that his instructing attorney had not submitted a proper “prayer” to be determined by the court.
“The court rules require that the prayer must be specific, so far as it stands there is no proper prayer before this court,” Justice Gwaunza said.
Adv Zhuwarara insisted the “prayer” was there and was specific, but the court maintained the papers were not in order.
Representing Zhokinyi, Advocate Regina Mabwe urged the court to strike the matter off the roll, saying the issue before the court was whether there was a valid appeal or not.
“The rules require that there has to be a prayer and what is before you falls short of the mark, he said. The appellant (Dynamos) was seeking the setting aside of the decision of the Labour Court.
“Once it is conceded that the aspect is absent it follows that there is no appeal. I hear there is an application to amend the prayer, but a nullity cannot be amended and cannot be condoned.”